Despite the fact that I generally cling to routine and familiarity, I have always liked the idea of a new start and resolutions. As a student and as a teacher, semesters brought these natural endings and beginnings to my life on a regular basis: every September, every new year, and every May/June, I got to make many promises to myself (that would soon be broken, of course.) Now that I’m just a post-academia person, New Year’s is pretty much all I’ve got.
I am not quite ready to write the post about the new. I’m still figuring out what to do with the old to properly close out this year.
2013 has been a really tough year of uncertainty, depression, fruitless hard work, trying times, and a general uphill battle to determine my self-worth from things other than “what I do for work.”
My idea at the end of 2012 was that I was going to be nicer to myself in 2013. Somehow, that idea completely backfired. I have hated myself more in 2013 than I have ever hated myself in my life. (That’s saying a lot, given that graduate degree #1 was a painful joke and at least one really horrible ex-boyfriend dragged me through the wringer.) I have hated myself for being weak, complacent, dependent, despondent, unmotivated, untalented, unsuccessful. I hate that my life is at a stand-still, and I hate that it’s probably my fault because I don’t make any money with my big-money graduate degree #2. I hate that I feel completely paralyzed to do anything about my life but wait, work, and hope for the best. I hate that I hate myself, especially when my life isn’t that bad and there are really many things to be grateful for.
I also hate quoting quotes where I can’t confirm the source, or examine the context of the quote or the person behind the quote, but there is the ever-popular Immanuel Kant quote about happiness that I have been considering:
Rules for happiness: Something to do, Something to love, and Something to hope for.
I’ve been hoping for an answer to my career. I’ve been hoping to finally go on a honeymoon, or at least an adventurous vacation, since travel-hungry me hasn’t been on a vacation in 1.5 years, or been separated from “work” for more than 2 days in 2013. I’ve been hoping that we’d be able to get started on a family, or get moving towards “completing” our home. In 2013, I do not feel any closer to having answers, getting a vacation, starting a family, or completing a home.
Apparently, I need all 3 things to be working in tandem with each other – that something that I do is something that I love and takes me towards the things I am hoping for. That seems to have been a lot to ask for. Also, I understand life is not a large checklist. It’s a series of small to-do checklists. And checklists are meant to be deviated from.
It’s time to accept the lack of progress on my life-checklist, close out the year, and regroup in 2014. What do I need to do between now and 2014 to close this year out?
1) Work hard.
I have more work to do for work, and while philosophizing about life was a great career for those in the Middle Ages (how did they survive??) these days, there is only work to make sure that there is more work. I really enjoy my team, and I need to pull my weight on this team, so worky work, busy bee.
2) Clear the to-do list.
Making a final to-do list with all the things on the to-do list, just in time for new to-do lists for 2014, filled with things that will hopefully take me towards my hopes.
3) Clean the house.
Clean house, clean mind. This first floor is a disaster, with too much stuff, and not enough places to put them. And there are half-painted walls, and much construction still to be done. In the words of Stephen Stills:
If you can’t be with the one you love (completed upstairs new house), then love the one you’re with.
And with that (confirmed) quote, it’s time to be productive. See you in 2014 with some gratitude and some resolutions!